Safely stored in our basement is a box of photo books my mom made when we, my two brothers and I, were growing up. There are captions above, below, beside each black-and-white. There is an occasional burst of color in some of the earlier books - Christmas, a beach trip, camping - bright and happy like a Sunday comic page. They are dated well, thoughtfully executed and an excellent chronicle of my childhood - thanks, Mom.
And, I hardly ever look at them.
You should apologize to her now, you're thinking.
I'm not going to.
You see, I cherish those books, I really do. Their dry crinkly pages, yellowed and stained with that mark that only a glue brush can make, the acetate clear pages also brittle and chipped, have been around for as long as I can remember. Some of the pictures have lost their moorings - you remember, the little black frame corner pieces meticulously placed to grab the picture - and they float behind the clear page.
I don't look at them very frequently because I want them to remain the way they are - not in that box downstairs - but in my mind. It is very comforting to know not that there is a box of photobooks of memories and past awaiting, no, but that their was a past to remember, a childhood, dreams, memories to make, and, and... someone loved enough to chronicle it.
Marci and I, mostly Marci, well, Marci, really, has made and makes picture books for the boys. There are baby books with notes and bits about them written and remembered. There are preschool graduation pictures, old friends, team photos, you know what's in them, and the boys like to get them out - as I did - and remember forgotten things and good times and kittens and old cats. They like to get them out a couple or few times a year. For now at least.
I am afraid I didn't articulate that very well at all...
I am trying to get to a point, but it seems to keep getting farther away. I am trying to say that I think - and it sounds trite now - that photobooks and scrapbooks and folders of old school projects and old chests full of letter-jackets and theater posters, envelopes of love letters, a box of undated photos of forgotten faces and times, a little box that once held, well, things that needed to be held, but only holds the crispy petals of a yellow rose, all these things, and, oh, so many more, are sacred places.
They are not sacred things, no, the sacred place I speak of is in me.
It is in my heart.
It is in my mind.
The sacred place is my soul, built and buttressed with each memory kept, each item held, each love listed, each smile captured.
I cherish those old books Mom made, the boys cherish the ones they have, perhaps you have a box of memories as well. We keep them safe. We open them now and again. We know, and this is important, that there is a tenderness of intent inherit in them, and, that tenderness is what makes them good, important... sacred.
This is a transitional paragraph. It serves to link the opening above to the main topic which follows. It is not a very good transitional paragraph.
I have a new phone. It is shiny and smart and takes pretty good images. I took one the other day of the boys getting ready for their first real band event - a compelling review of thirty second songs utilizing all five of the notes they know. In all honesty, I just took it because I happened upon my phone in my pocket and thought, what the hell.
I liked one of the pictures, well, a part of one, so I cropped it and added some filters - too many I am sure - and I posted it to a private Facebook page I belong to with little explanation, trying to be cool, I'd guess.
I should be embarrassed to say that I was showing off. I wanted my friends there to see how grown up and interesting and hip the boys are becoming. I wanted folks to see the image I'd taken, what I'd done with it. There is not much sacred about showing off. And, that's why I am not embarrassed by it all. It got me to thinking.
I have long been uncomfortable with posting a lot of pictures of the boys on Facebook, oh sure I have now and then, but it never felt quite right. I'd like to say it's because of privacy issues and the like, but, it's not that. I'd like to say it is because I hate the thought of an image of childhood innocence, and so many like it, trying to flower in the stench of so much hate and violence and unkindness that seems to the invade event the gentlest of Facebook threads, pages and posts, but, honestly, I don't believe that. I see beauty and caring and depth and integrity every day on it, mixed in the ugly, so that's not it. (Boys, if you don't remember what Facebook was, I wrote a little primer here.)
No, what it is is that it's too damn easy. I couldn't believe that old Luddite Bill, could figure it all out from my new phone. Tip, tap, swipety, swipe... done. Do you know the word "flip?" It is short for flippant, I think, which is defined as "
I hope no one takes offense at this. I am mostly indicting myself here, I am the first to embrace the folly and irony of this being a blog post, I get that. I think Facebook is swell, I like the notion of social media, I think it does connect people.
Listen, I just got to thinkin', is all. Peace to you all.